A picture is worth a thousand words.
And an app with more than 1 billion pictures is worth $1 billion.
At least that’s what founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is willing to pay to own an app where users are uploading more than 5 million photos per day and liking other users’ photos 575 times per second. But why would Zuckerberg want to pay a billion dollars? Facebook, the monster of all social platforms, has users who upload 250 million photos and like their friend’s photos 2.7 billion times per day. Is Instagram really worth $1 billion to Facebook?
The answer to the latter question is quite clearly, yes. Zuckerberg has already written the check (or however you give someone that huge chunk of change). So, yes. Instagram is worth $1 billion.
But the value in $1 billion doesn’t come from Facebook adding a mere 5 million photos to its daily upload statistic of 250 million. The value comes from the old saying that began this blog: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” (In fact, it seems a bit ironic to be writing a lengthy blog about how people truly prefer to look at pictures. But, alas. Stay with me.)
In Facebook’s recent Timeline and newsfeed changes, they are proving to their 800 million users that they are focused on the photo-sharing experience and its ability to connect people. Enter EdgeRank and Timeline.
EdgeRank is an algorithm that determines where, when and whether or not your content is shown in your friends or fans’ newsfeeds. Since its installation, every piece of published content (statuses, link shares, videos, photos, comments, likes, shares, clicks) has a weight and an associated EdgeRank score that will drive the individual piece of content into newsfeeds. If you hadn’t already guessed, Facebook gives more weight to photos than any other piece of content (other than videos).
And now, once a user clicks from the newsfeed to a personal or brand’s profile, what do they see? A timeline saturated with photos and minimal words. They see a friend or brand’s life story through photos.
But what Instagram was able to curate that Facebook could not is the desire for users to share photos of not only life’s milestones and big events, but also the fleeting moments in everyday life. The moments that smart phone owners already were taking pictures of, but never publishing. Instagram has given iPhone (and now Android) users the ability to transform their dodgy camera phone photos into funky, creative images that one looks forward to sharing with the world, and the world is happy to look at.
Instagram gives an emotional and personal touch to pictures of everyday life.
That is why Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page, “Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook, and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”
So for those of you who manage a brand’s online image, remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Use photos to tell your story. It will give an emotional and personal touch to your brand that will engage your customers.